Most of us live in worlds of conversation, like books or blogs or chats, where we tend to give many others the benefit of the doubt that they are mostly talking “in good faith.” We don’t just talk to show off or to support allies and knock rivals – we hold our selves to higher standards. But let me explain why that may often be wishful thinking.
Typos: "I’m really am" > I, "roughly tract truth" > track
I have attempted to express this exact idea myself, many times. Unfortunately, I've never been good enough at coalition politics to be taken seriously.
How did you learn to deduce the consequences of the hypothesis that something is dominated by coalition politics?
More importantly, how can I? Is it a mathematical theory, like game theory? Or, is there a book you can read on how coalition politics generally works? Or guidelines somewhere on how to spot coalitions and associated behaviors?
EDIT: just found your post "The Coalition Politics Hypothesis", I guess I can start there
I was just about to make that exact argument - that people would not accept the objectivity of the process that determined who won the bets. How would anyone settle a bet made between Christians and Muslims about the divinity of Jesus? Or, for a more prosaic example, how would you settle a bet on the outcome of the 2000 U.S. Presidential election if you had to make a decision shortly after Election Day? Even today, there's a way to make a case that Gore really did win the election. (After the Bush v. Gore lawsuit ended, journalists recounted Florida ballots to see if the results would have changed. The lawsuit involved four Florida counties; even if Gore had won it, recounting only those four counties would not have enough of an effect to swing Florida's vote total in his favor. On the other hand, a statewide recount, which Gore never asked for, actually would have resulted in a Gore victory.)
This would defeat coalitions if as intense as the coalition themselves so these lesser coalitions must soon fade into interests of common discussion where consideration and persuasion must dominate or risk coalition destruction. You may argue they are not objective but I would say they are uncertain or their position would become the coalition position. The smaller the more intense the belief but the larger the more skeptical the opposition or at least the group that doesn't care.
I have the ability to reason deductively and inductively, but also prejudices that focus that logic more efficiently. I like myself more than others, and I need coalitions to advance my goals. I have an innate sense of 'the good' that embodies the Golden Rule and maximizing the welfare of society over the long run.
Applying these sometimes conflicting objectives is nontrivial, why life is hard. Objectivity is simply one of many desirable things that is merely good in moderation.
Sorry for the spam, but this also reminds me of the concept of "complextropy" that Scott Aaronson blogged about a few years ago: < http://www.scottaaronson.co... >.
This discussion is a kind of complextropy problem of group politics. If everything is entirely mixed (everyone in every group) or nothing is mixed at all (extremely sharp boundaries between everyone) then you're at one of the two complextropy extremes.
It's worth it to add that this works in the reverse direction too: if you really want to reduce coalition politics, you should very happily allow anyone, especially the ideologically opposed, to join any of your groups. And you should not cast much judgement on folks who opt to join no groups.
Imagine a spectrum of group membership. On one far end, a person is a hermit or recluse, joining no groups (not even by implicit participation). On the other end of the spectrum, a person joins all groups and participates as earnestly and fully as time and energy constraints will allow.
If many people are at one of these extremes or the other, it makes coalition politics harder. So one way people could combat coalition politics is to either join no groups or else join all groups.
I'm not saying this would be easy or a good idea. It just strikes me as an interesting option.
It is in some ways related to an old post about using exile as a possible legal punishment. It could also be related to immigration choices, sale of citizenship, etc.
At a meta level, folks probably actively want coalition politics. They aren't just engaging in it de facto by happening to have been embedded in a culture where it is pervasive. Few folks try very hard to earnestly be a part of a huge range of potentially ideologically opposed groups (for the purpose of not falling prey to coalition politics of their favored group) and few folks dismiss all groups.
So we both want there to be rivalries and we want to cheer for our side of the rivalry.
Coalition politics usually has a fractal structure; each coalition fragments into internal subgroups when possible.
Anyone with pretensions of objectivity should be willing to make a market on the empirical implications of his explanations. Otherwise, we have no reason to trust that the motivations behind the explanation are search for truth. Robin's point should be no more controversial than the insistence that reported empirical results are replicable.
Agreeing on the criteria to settle a bet isn't a problem to solve for prediction markets, it's the problem of defining the empirical implications of any theory/model/explanation. If you can't do it for prediction markets, you can't do it for empirical tests in general, reason enough to dismiss anyone not willing to undertake the exercise. Specifying the conditions of bet settlement in a way that can be handled by an independent third party should be considered part of the scientific method.
For the life of me, I don't understand why this idea is met with such hostility among academics. Coalition politics seems like as good an explanation as any. So why don't we define some implications of it, set up the test, and invite the doubters to take the other side of the trade ;)
The problem with objective measures of performance is that such measures tend to corrupt the behavior of the people being evaluated. When students are being tested, they start to study for exams, not to actually learn something; when performance of scientists is being measured by their publication history, they start to research things that lead to easy publications.
If it was possible to find a measure that has perfect correlation with the behavior we want to encourage, there would be no problem. In practice, such measures are hard, if not impossible to find.
Also I don't get how prediction markets would do any better than coalition politics (or objective measures), at least in certain topics. Imagine for example setting up a prediction market to evaluate academic publications. The people trading in the market (assuming the idea becomes popular) would be essentially the same people that evaluate the publications now.
Isn't that why most conversation is within coalitions where this is less likely to apply? Not sure there is much point taking politics out of politics as objectivity is not the goal.
As I suggested in the post, that would hinder using writing evaluations to play coalition politics.
The "winner" only gets his money after the market is finished and will then go on to invest that in some other prediction market where he's probably biased himself this time. What's the use of this? Aren't prediction markets supposed to have some use before the they finish? Without that you might as well have someone write a report instead of having a prediction market.